Burnaby Neighbourhood House: 4460 Beresford Street, Burnaby, BC, V5H 0B8
Literacy Outreach Coordinator: 604-562-3447

10 Books For Your Child’s Cultural Literacy!

10 Books For Your Child’s Cultural Literacy!

A mother improves her children's cultural literacy by reading to them.

Can you name one way to improve your child’s cultural literacy? If you can’t, we’re here to help. Cultural literacy develops communication skills, self reflection, and an open mind. To do this, try reading! There’s so many great, diverse children’s books available. In this blog, we have 10 book recommendations to improve your child’s cultural literacy.

Reading with your child is a great way to support their learning. You can model good behaviour and have a huge impact on your child’s literacy levels. Start with some of the books below. They’re all written by IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, People of Colour) authors or focus on diversity, inclusion, or anti-racism. You can find all of them at the Burnaby Public Library! So, go check out (get it?) the books below.

Multicultural Book Recommendations

  1. Be a Good Ancestor, by Leona Prince (Indigenous author in Canada)

Picture book

“Thought-provoking stanzas encourage readers of all ages to consider they ways in which they live in connection to the world around them and encourages them to think deeply about their behaviors. Rooted in Indigenous teachings, the message delivered by the authors is universal, be a good ancestor to the world around you.”

  1. My Paati’s Saris, by Jyoti Rajan Gopal

Picture book

“A Tamil boy explores his love for his grandmother and her colorful sari collection in this tale of expressing your true self”

  1. Dear Black Child, by Rahma Rodaah (Canadian author)

Picture book

“Lyrical and beautifully illustrated, Dear Black Child is an anthem for young, Black readers–one that defiantly centers the endless, joyful possibilities of Black children’s futures. Dear Black Child, The universe is vast. So take as much space as you can. Stand in your own light. Wear your crown with pride. Let your name be your flag.” 

  1. Malaika’s Winter Carnival, by Nadia L. Hohn (Canadian author)

Picture book

“Nadia L. Hohn’s prose, written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois, tells a warm story about the importance of family, especially when adjusting to a new home. Readers of the first Malaika book will want to find out what happens when she moves to Canada, and will enjoy seeing Malaika and her family once again depicted through Irene Luxbacher’s colorful collage illustrations.” 

  1. Kā-āciwīkicik / The move, by Doris George (Indigenous author in Canada)

Picture book

“Rooted in the historical displacement and relocation of members of the Chemawawin First Nation from their ancestral homeland, The Move is a bilingual story of two Cree Elders adjusting to life in their new environment. The story presents two contrasting landscapes of the old community — the homeland of the Chemawawin People — and the new community of Easterville, which at first appears barren and lifeless. Gradually, the couple begins to incorporate their old customs and traditions into their current surroundings. Family members begin to visit, and eventually nature begins to bloom all around them. Through traditional Cree storytelling techniques and vivid imagery, the new landscape springs to life and becomes a true community, filled with life and happiness.”

  1. Giju’s Gift, by Brandon Mitchell (Indigenous author in Canada)

Graphic novel

“”A Mi’kmaw girl battles an ancient giant and forms an unexpected friendship in the first volume of this series of graphic novels inspired by traditional stories. Long ago, all living creatures on this land shared a special balance with one another. The pugulatmu’j–the Little People–were the original guardians of the land, and they looked after all living things. As time passed, we forgot these playful yet powerful guardians, but they did not forget us.”

  1. A is for Bee: An Alphabet in Translation, by Ellen Heck

Picture book

“What letter does the word bee start with? If you said “B” you’re right – in English! But in many, many languages, it actually starts with A. Bee is Anū in Igbo, Aamoo in Ojibwe, Abelha in Portugese. And Arı in Turkish.”

  1. The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky, by Jihyun Kim

Wordless picture book

“It’s summertime and a boy and his dog are leaving behind their apartment in the busy city. His grandparents’ home in the countryside feels like a different world. From the window, the curious boy sees a path leading enticingly into the forest. He can’t wait to explore….This is a beautiful wordless story about allowing ourselves to be present in the moment and see the world afresh.” 

  1. The Flamingo, by Guojing

Wordless graphic novel

“A little girl arrives, excited for a beachy vacation with her Lao Lao. The girl and her grandmother search for shells, chase crabs, and play in the sea, but when the girl finds an exquisite flamingo feather in her grandmother’s living room, her vacation turns into something fantastical.” 

  1. Remember to Dream, Ebere, by Cynthia Erivo

Picture book

“A girl dreams of a rocket ship, and her mother encourages her to follow her big, bright, bold dream.” 

Overall, cultural literacy is essential for a harmonious society. By reading these books, you’re improving your child’s cultural literacy and reading skills at the same time! 

Thank you to librarians at the Burnaby Public Library for these great recommendations!